BBQ Beans on Sourdough Toast

July 30, 2023

Nick Hancock

In my past life as a restaurateur, working alongside food industry titans such as Jamie Oliver, I found myself fascinated by the culinary world's ability to blend taste, aesthetics, and nutritional balance into an experience that delights the senses. Now, as a certified running coach, my interest in nutrition has taken on a new dimension: to discover how the world of delicious, satisfying food intersects with the demands of endurance running.

Today, I bring these two passions together in my "BBQ Beans on Sourdough Toast" recipe—a dish that marries the robust flavours of smoky, sweet BBQ beans with the hearty chew of sourdough toast.

The recipe is simple, yet the flavours are anything but. The sauce for the beans is a complex blend of sweetness, tang, and heat, made from pantry staples such as tomato purée, brown sugar, apple cider vinegar, and Worcestershire sauce. Then, there's the aromatic mix of spices—smoked paprika, cumin, coriander, and a hint of cayenne pepper—that infuse the beans with an irresistible smoky-spicy profile.

But it's not just about the flavours. As a running coach, I can attest to the importance of nutrition in fuelling performance and aiding recovery. This dish is not only tasty but it's a great source of slow-digesting carbs, protein, and fibre—key nutrients for any runner.

Sourdough bread is a fantastic source of complex carbohydrates, which provide steady, long-lasting energy. Plus, it's easier to digest than other breads, making it an excellent choice for runners with sensitive stomachs.

Beans, on the other hand, are nutritional powerhouses. They're packed with protein, which is crucial for muscle repair and recovery, and fibre, which helps keep you feeling satisfied and supports digestive health. But the nutritional benefits don't stop there. Beans are also rich in vitamins and minerals, including iron, a nutrient essential for runners, which aids in oxygen transport and reduces fatigue.

Now, let's talk about the preparation. One of the many skills I picked up from Jamie Oliver is the ability to make the complex seem effortless, and that's what this dish is all about. The preparation is straightforward—sauté onions and garlic, add the spices, stir in the sauce ingredients, add the beans, and let everything simmer together until the flavours meld beautifully. It's a one-pan dish that's easy to whip up, yet the result is a flavour-packed meal that would impress at any dinner table.

And then there's the serving. The beans are spooned onto toasted slices of sourdough, where the hearty bread soaks up the delicious sauce, and every bite has a delightful mix of textures—the chew of the bread, the softness of the beans, the crunch of the onions. To make it even more satisfying, you can sprinkle over some grated cheddar or a vegan cheese alternative and let it melt from the heat of the beans.

This dish is versatile too. It's not only a fantastic post-run meal but also a hearty breakfast that would kick-start your day or a comforting dinner on a cool evening.

While I love this recipe as it is, don't be afraid to make it your own. Add some sliced avocado or a fried egg on top. Substitute the beans with your favourite variety or use a mix of different ones. The options are limitless.

In conclusion, my BBQ Beans on Sourdough Toast is more than just a dish—it's a testament to my journey from the restaurant kitchens of the UK to running tracks around the world. It's a perfect blend of culinary craft and performance nutrition, combining the wisdom I gained working with Jamie Oliver and the expertise I've developed as a running coach.

So next time you're looking for a meal that’s both nutritious and delicious, remember this recipe. Enjoy the intricate dance of flavours in each bite and appreciate the energy it provides to fuel your runs. Until next time, happy running and happy eating!


Nick Hancock, UESCA Ultrarunning Certified and UK Athletics Licensed Running Coach and Author of the Ultimate Cookbook for Runners

BBQ Beans on Sourdough Toast Recipe

Serves: 4


  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp ground coriander
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (adjust to taste)
  • 400g tin of chopped tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp tomato purée
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce (use a vegetarian/vegan alternative if needed)
  • 400g tin of mixed beans (such as kidney, cannellini, and butter beans), drained and rinsed
  • Salt and black pepper, to taste

To serve:

  • 4 thick slices of sourdough bread
  • Butter or olive oil, for toasting
  • Fresh parsley or coriander, chopped (optional)


  • Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion, and sauté for 5-6 minutes until softened and slightly golden. Add the garlic and cook for another minute.
  • Stir in the smoked paprika, ground cumin, ground coriander, and cayenne pepper. Cook for 1-2 minutes to release the flavours of the spices.
  • Add the chopped tomatoes, tomato purée, brown sugar, apple cider vinegar, and Worcestershire sauce to the saucepan. Stir to combine, then bring the mixture to a gentle boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 10-15 minutes, allowing the sauce to thicken and flavours to develop.
  • Add the mixed beans to the sauce, stirring to combine. Simmer for another 5-10 minutes, until the beans are heated through and have absorbed some of the BBQ flavours. Season with salt and black pepper to taste.
  • While the beans are simmering, toast the sourdough bread. You can do this in a toaster or on a griddle pan with a little butter or olive oil.
  • Serve the BBQ beans on top of the toasted sourdough slices. Garnish with chopped fresh parsley or coriander, if desired.
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